Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei is the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an intergovernmental organization within the United Nations system. He was appointed to the office effective 1 December 1997, and reappointed to a second term in September 2001.
Mr ElBaradei is a former Egyptian diplomat who joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1984 and held a series of high-level policy positions in the organisation before becoming director 13 years later.
He secured a third term at the helm of the agency after the US eventually agreed to back him, although relations between Washington and the IAEA have not been without tensions in recent years.
For although Mr ElBaradei has agreed with the current administration on a number of key nuclear-related issues, he is not afraid to speak his mind.
He has particularly criticised what he sees as double standards on the part of countries which have nuclear weapons, but which seek to prevent others from procuring them.
“We must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction, yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security – and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use,” he has declared.
Mohammed El Baradi – Nobel Prize
7 October 2005
The Nobel Committee decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2005 should be shared, in two equal parts, between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei,
“for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way. “
Press Release from Nobel Prize Committee
At a time when the threat of nuclear arms is again increasing, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to underline that this threat must be met through the broadest possible international cooperation. This principle finds its clearest expression today in the work of the IAEA and its Director General. In the nuclear non-proliferation regime, it is the IAEA which controls that nuclear energy is not misused for military purposes, and the Director General has stood out as an unafraid advocate of new measures to strengthen that regime. At a time when disarmament efforts appear deadlocked, when there is a danger that nuclear arms will spread both to states and to terrorist groups, and when nuclear power again appears to be playing an increasingly significant role, IAEA’s work is of incalculable importance.
In his will, Alfred Nobel wrote that the Peace Prize should, among other criteria, be awarded to whoever had done most for the “abolition or reduction of standing armies”. In its application of this criterion in recent decades, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has concentrated on the struggle to diminish the significance of nuclear arms in international politics, with a view to their abolition. That the world has achieved little in this respect makes active opposition to nuclear arms all the more important today.
Kofi Annan Praise for Nobel Award
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said he is delighted by Friday’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the UN nuclear watchdog and its chief, Mohamed ElBaradei.
“The secretary general is delighted that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2005 has been awarded to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its director general, Mohamed ElBaradei,” a UN spokesperson said in the Swiss capital, where Annan is on an official visit.
Annan “congratulates him and the entire staff of the agency, past and present, on their contributions to global peace”.
“The prize is a welcome reminder of the acute need to make progress on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament at a time when weapons of mass destruction continue to pose a grave danger to us all.
Source: Sapa-AFP 7th October 2005